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Who are your substitute decision-makers?

On Behalf of | Aug 21, 2020 | Estate Planning

Think about the decisions you have made for yourself recently. You may have decided to make a big purchase, move into a new home or go to the doctor when you were sick. If you are a parent, you may have had to decide what your kids will do regarding school in the fall.

All these are important decisions that affect our lives and well-being. So what happens if you become incapacitated and cannot make them for yourself? Who are the people who will make decisions on your behalf?

Types of decision-making roles

There are multiple surrogate decision-making roles you can assign to specific people, including:

  • Guardians for your children
  • Health care proxies
  • Financial powers of attorney
  • Personal representative

The people in these and other roles have the power to decide things like where you will live and receive care if you become incapacitated. They can choose to sell your home and manage your money. They can determine how to care for your children and how to distribute your assets.

With so much on the line, it is crucial that you think carefully about who you appoint to these positions.

Traits of a good decision-maker

When you are considering who to name in these positions, remember that they may have to make complicated legal, financial and personal decisions on your behalf. Therefore, someone well-suited for these roles should be:

  • Organized
  • Fiscally responsible
  • Capable of managing stressful situations
  • A good communicator
  • Trustworthy

Depending on the role, you may also want someone who shares your same religious or spiritual beliefs.

Making good decisions for yourself

Whether your decision-makers include family members, financial institutions or other professionals, discuss with them your wishes. Doing so empowers them to make informed decisions that align with your best interests.

It is also essential to formally document your appointments in your estate plan. Failing to do so can result in confusion and court decisions that may not be what you would have wanted. Choosing the people who will decide critical matters on your behalf is one decision you should make for yourself.

If you have concerns or questions regarding guardianships, powers of attorney or estate administrators, you can call the attorneys at Quinn Law Firm at 814-806-2518 to discuss your legal options.

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